Kettlebell Swings Training For Wrestling

wrestling on the matt

In this article, I will show you how you can use kettlebell swings for your wrestling practice.

How to use kettlebell swings for wrestling? Kettlebell swings can be used by wrestlers all year round, doesn’t matter of the training season their in. They are a great tool to develop explosive strength and power during the off-season. And they can be utilized as the endurance and conditioning tool in the peak-season time.

One of the most important skills for wrestlers is being able to grapple. This means having all the skills and strength to engage in a close fight. You don’t need the power to strike the punch. You need the power to take down the opponent on the ground, fast.

That’s why you need to do kettlebell swings.

How To Add Kettlebell Swings To Wrestling Training?

Wrestling, like any other hand-to-hand close-combat sport, requires all different types of work. You still need your speed, explosiveness, power, and endurance.

Some people train wrestling all year round just on the mat.

Because they don’t like weights. And that’s ok.

However, the truth is that you can get so much better just from adding some strength training. That will make you already ahead of the game.

Even if you just lift all year round. Same workout. Same weight.

But if you want to get the best results, you must plan your training in advance for the season and off-season.

But that requires knowledge of human physiology and understanding that we cannot perform at peak performance all year round.

You will burn out.

And even if you manage to do well in year one, it doesn’t mean you will repeat the same process in year two.

It’s kind of like working 7 days a week all year round at your best. It’s not gonna happen. Everyone gets tired at some point.

So separating your routine into the season and off-season time will guarantee that not only you will feel better. But you will also perform better each year.

In my opinion, wrestling is one of the most difficult sports to design the training program

How To Separate Training Into Seasons

how to train for wrestling for off-season

You want to break down your workout routine in two. Season and off-season.

During the season time, it’s all about conditioning, endurance, and skill work. This is not the time to beat yourself up doing 1RM deadlifts. You want to have a full tank with gas.

And the better your conditioning, the better your aerobic capacity, the rester you will be able to recover from the games.

This is where you push yourself.

For kettlebell swings, this is the perfect time to do high reps complex routines that will jack up your heart rate. They will not only work on your endurance but also get you more comfortable with being out of breath.

You can use swings on their own, of with combination with other great exercises. High-intensity intervals with many reps and not a lot of rest in between. That’s what you are looking for.

This time is when people “feel” the workout. They are tired after each training. But for good reason.

In the season, your number one goal is to get better at wrestling. That’s your drills and skills. They cost you lots of energy. So for the best results use conditioning after your mat work.

Also doing some light aerobic work will help you with recovery. So any bike, rower, or even jogging can be added to your routine.

Swings will also work on your grip. The off-season is a great time to focus on strength. But the grip flexors are mainly made of slow-twitch muscle fibers. This means they don’t just blow up after 5 weeks of training. It takes time.

Slow and steady wins the race. You want to work on your grip all year round.

So kettlebell swings will ensure you are getting some stimulation, even if you’re not in your strength phase.

During the off-season, it’s all about fixing what is missing. You have plenty of time to really get better for next year.

This is what separates amateurs from a pro. Amateurs train all year round doing the same thing, over and over.

Pro plan their training ahead. They humble themselves, leave their ego behind the door, and look at what went wrong, and what could be better.

There is not agenda. No emotion. Only data.

If you feel you can get stronger, then now is the time to work on the strength.

If your bench press is weak, or if you can’t do any pull-ups, now is the time to work on it. This is not the time to run 10k 4 times a week.

Focus on what you suck

If you feel you could get some speed then you focus on speed.

This is not the time to beat yourself up.

You don’t need to be “fit” here. You want to assess what you’ve been missing in the season, and now is the time to fill those gaps.

This is where you do the bare minimum

Don’t go all out. You just hit 1-5 RM for couple sets. That’s it.

Your goal is to have a heavy load, explosive movements and long breaks.

You won’t get this burn or exhaustion effect as you get during the conditioning phase.

Heavy load, small reps, and a longer rest will allow you to improve your strength without adding muscle size.

You won’t bulk up.

Many people are afraid that they will gain weight as soon as they start lifting. But strength training and hypertrophy training are two separate methods.

Exercises like cleans, deadlifts, pull-ups, and squats can work on your general strength.

For squats, they activate the glutes at the bottom range of motion. This translates to better vertical strength and power. You can jump higher so your body can handle more weight during the takedowns.

For kettlebell swings, use them to work on explosive strength. The kettlebell swing is a hip hinge movement. And, because it’s got its peak activation at the end range of hip extension, it will help you at your horizontal power and speed.

You will be faster.

Its a win win.

You get what you earn

training hard for wrestling

So you have to prioritize to be able to accelerate your training. That’s where kettlebell training comes into play. Because of the vast diversity of the ways you can utilize this tool, it can be used all year round. But you need to know what you are doing.

You cannot just do strength and expect to come to the mat and win every time. The same with endurance. You cannot just do conditioning and hope for success.

Think Out Of The Box

One of my coaches used to say

Steal from everyone

Its all about the mindset.

If you are active thats great. But remember that there are many other ways to fill out those gaps during the off-season.

If you need speed then go out to talk to the track and field coach. It’s all about athleticism.

You may think that track and field doesn’t translate into grappling, think again. Spend some time with people who practice spring and see how they do it. In just a few weeks you can improve your speed if you prioritize properly.

If you need to get stronger, spend more time in the weight room. Talk with strength and conditioning coaches. See what they use and how you can get benefits from that.

  • Get proactive.
  • Reach out to people. Nothing worth doing can be done alone.
  • Watch and observe.
  • Confront your gaps, weaknesses, and blind spots.
  • Take intelligent risks
  • Prioritize
  • Use evidence and data to make smart decisions

One of the most successful grappling coach, Dave Camarillo, said

Train with everyone

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is a personal trainer and writer at Millennial Hawk. He holds a MSc in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Central Lancashire. He is an exercise physiologist who enjoys learning about the latest trends in exercise and sports nutrition. Besides his passion for health and fitness, he loves cycling, exploring new hiking trails, and coaching youth soccer teams on weekends.

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